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Old 04-09-2009, 10:38 PM
7 posts, read 11,560 times
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We are relocating from San Francisco to Maine and we have chosen South Freeport to live, as it is close to our kids school. Is this a well-desired area? We got a house close to the Marina. I am petrified about the move from West Coast to East coast and I am wondering what the weather is like? Are the winters really as bad as they say? Also, how is USM? Is it a good school?
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:26 AM
Location: Southwestern Ohio
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Welcome sfb... as soon as everyone grabs a cup of coffee I'm sure they will be on to help you out!
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:04 AM
Location: 3.5 sq mile island ant nest next to Canada
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Originally Posted by s.f.freebirdie View Post
We are relocating from San Francisco to Maine and we have chosen South Freeport to live, as it is close to our kids school. Is this a well-desired area? We got a house close to the Marina. I am petrified about the move from West Coast to East coast and I am wondering what the weather is like? Are the winters really as bad as they say? Also, how is USM? Is it a good school?
I don't know much about Sth Freeport so I can't speak well on that subject. Now winter on the other hand, that I have dealt with most of my life. I grew up a few hours north of there. To me winter is as hatrd as you make it. We do get a lot more snow than I imagine you get in S.F. but I don't think it's so bad. I suppose it depends on what you've heard about our winters. IMHO;, it's a perceptual thing. If you think it's a terribly hard winter then that's what you'll get. We don't get locked in but there will be times that it would be smarter to stay home than try to get to the shops or the galleries.

And from what I hear USM is a very good school. Although I have no personal knowledge.

Don't get petrified. We're really quite friendly and helpful in Maine for the most part. Now, where's my coffee?
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:09 AM
Location: New England
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South Freeport is in a great area and the area close to the Marina is very nice. I have a friend that lives in the area and there are a lot of summer homes in the area but there are plenty of year round residences. The winter near the ocean will be a little milder than inland but will be night and day difference from San Francisco. You kind of have to like winter to live here or else become an indoor hermit. My wife graduated from USM and it is a pretty good school, but it depends what you are comparing it to. If you are looking for a top college Freeport isn't far from Bowdoin college. Good luck!
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:13 AM
Location: Florida (SW)
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We moved back to Maine after 5+ years in San Diego County.......I feel like I can live once again. The quality of life in Maine in the terms by which I measure it....freedom, open space, community, the roll of the seasons, genuineness of relationships, scenery I can understand and relate to.....(highly subjective)....anyway....I love Maine....but never "took" in California......I hope you dont have the reverse reaction.....Good Luck. You are moving to a nice area.

Last edited by elston; 04-10-2009 at 06:04 AM..
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:50 AM
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Default From NY (as a kid), but now a Mainer

We moved here many years ago now, and Maine is my home.

I live about 20 minutes away from Freeport. I / we are there 4 -5 times a month - shopping and for my business.

Winters in Maine will take some getting use to, but a joy for some, and not for others. The good thing about Maine winters, is they are followed up by Maine Spring, Summer and Fall.

USM is a great school. Our Son and Daughter graduated from there. Our son is looking into the University of Chicago business school to finish up his education, but he loved USM.

Here's a few pictures of what you might want to get ready for.

You can check out many other photo's from Maine in NH here: (and a few other areas on the East Coast)

- Flickr: slalemand01's Photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/slalemand/ - broken link)
- Flickr: vonstringcaldinkal's Photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/vonstringcaldinkal/ - broken link)

Attached Thumbnails
Moving to Maine--Fleeing West Coast-snowfield3.jpg   Moving to Maine--Fleeing West Coast-fallcolors.jpg  

Last edited by 7th generation; 04-10-2009 at 04:53 PM.. Reason: do not advertise your business
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:56 AM
Location: Connecticut
1,461 posts, read 4,220,966 times
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Originally Posted by s.f.freebirdie View Post
We are relocating from San Francisco to Maine and we have chosen South Freeport to live, as it is close to our kids school. Is this a well-desired area? We got a house close to the Marina. I am petrified about the move from West Coast to East coast and I am wondering what the weather is like? Are the winters really as bad as they say? Also, how is USM? Is it a good school?
Wow, from one extreme to another. South Freeport and Freeport in general is gorgeous...I love Southern Maine although I did live WAY up North in Aroostook County for a few years, the Southern part of the state is amazing. I wish I had good news for you about the weather up there...it is exactly as bad as they say. Very cold and lots of snow. No getting around it, you are about as far North as the crow can possibly fly..not as far North as I was but up there. Enjoy your move but expect to have an adjustment period. One thing....the people in Maine are the best ever. It will amaze you how helpful and friendly they are with no strings attached either. I do miss that living here in CT. My neighbors wave and will chat at times but they are 80 plus years old and pretty much old school...the younger ones...they don't even wave. Up in Maine, it is totally different. Neighbors take care of each other...you will see.

Good Luck and I know you will like it there!
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Old 04-10-2009, 06:49 AM
Location: Woolwich, ME
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Hello SFB! I grew up in Maine, but lived different places during my working life and moved back to Maine five years ago. I lived in San Francisco and the Bay Area for many years, and I'm fairly familiar with the Freeport area, so I think I have a good idea of some of the contrasts between the two SFs.

I am not a big fan of winter, but I like it better here than in San Francisco for one reason: sun. I always had a really hard time in winter in SF because of often not seeing the sun for 1-2 weeks at a time. Here, in winter we still have plenty of sun, and that makes a big difference to me. I thought when we moved back here I would have a really hard time with the snow and cold after being away from it for so long, but it actually wasn't that hard. When the cold weather first sets in, you're shivering in 40 degrees, but then you adjust and by midwinter you can be out shoveling snow with no jacket in sub-freezing temperatures (as long as it's sunny and not windy).

But let's face it, the winters here are long and it can be tough. It will be a big adjustment for you. There will be days when you can't believe you were crazy enough to move from CA to Maine---especially if you hear from one of your friends that they're having one of those January or February days when it's 70 and they're driving around with the top down. If you have the right attitude, though, you can survive and even enjoy winter. Maybe you'll get into cross country skiing or snowmobiling or even ice fishing. Or maybe you'll just like staying by your woodstove, watching winter wildlife and doing some indoor hobby.

Living in the SF Bay Area, you're familiar with microclimates. We have some of that too, though not nearly so extreme as out there. It's true South Freeport will be milder than a lot of places because of being on the water. Because of its location, though, it does tend to get hit with a lot of snow from those storms that come up from the south. (We get storms that come up from the south, some that pretty much come from the west and others that shoot down from Canada.)

Even if you never take to winter, I think you'll find many advantages of Maine over CA. It's so peaceful here compared to the Bay Area. Traffic is pretty much a non-issue, you can park almost everywhere for free, crime rates are extremely low. But, as others have already pointed out, a big difference is how truly friendly people are here. Our friends in the SF Bay Area were almost entirely from work. We did know some of our neighbors, but we only became friends with two of them---and they were from Minnesota. We felt like people were friendly on only a superficial level. Here, we know so many of our neighbors and we have become good friends with loads of them. We socialize and do things for each other frequently. When my DH had to be away for several weeks this winter, I got calls all the time to have dinner or with offers to help with snow removal or getting in wood. I take walks down our street with one of my neighbors pretty often and, now that it's spring, we see so many people and stop to chat so often I think the walks take about three times as long as usual.

You will also notice that there are many community activities to get involved with. It's great for helping you get out in the winter and for making new friends. There are loads of community theater groups, choruses, sports groups, etc. I know there is a good chorus group in Freeport. They also have a nice, fairly new YMCA.

Your new neighborhood is beautiful. If you haven't visited during the summer, you might be surprised to see that Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster down on the wharf is a popular tourist destination. It's not going to interfere with your ability to drive down the street, but it makes a big difference to the wharf area in the summer. Of course, if your house is right on that road to the wharf, you might occasionally find it annoying.

You shouldn't have any trouble getting friends and family to visit you in the summer. We get frequent visitors from CA and they enjoy it. The ones who live right in SF itself especially like being able to enjoy being outside in the afternoons and evenings instead of it being too cold and foggy.

There are a number of good restaurants in Freeport and nearby Portland, so you shouldn't suffer too much from restaurant withdrawal. However, I have to say that I miss real chinese food a lot. No matter what some people may say, there is no real chinese food here. On the other hand, you can have lobster here for reasonable prices anytime you want.

Best of luck on your move. I'm sure you'll miss the Bay Area, but I hope you learn to love Maine as so many have.
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:55 AM
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Thank you so much! This has really helped tremendously...we have found it next to impossible to get to know people in San Francisco and the only ones we have become friends with were from our kids school and it basically on a superficial level to benefit our kids. We have lots of family here, which we rarely see though, so I was pleased to hear how easily friends can be made in Maine. The winters probably won't be an issue, as I am an avid snowboarder and grew up in the snow and moved to southern California and then to northern California right after high school. My mother in-law is from Monument Beach Mass and has resided in San Diego for 2o years now. When I told her we were relocating, she had a overwhelmingly negative sentiment toward the entire idea. She said we would hate Maine, but I do not believe this to be true, as I truly have never, ever adapted to San Francisco. The people here cold, it is transient and it has an extremely high crime rate...car has been broken into 4 times. I am a student at UC Berkeley and I wondered if anyone knows if USM is a comparable school....thanks
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:31 AM
Location: Somerville, MA
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Hi, and welcome to Maine! As others have said the area you're moving to is very nice. It's charming, quiet, and still close to everything.

I won't get into the weather any more than to just say that the other posters here are dead on in their assessment. These people do not sugarcoat their opinion of winter.

Maine is the opposite of San Francisco. San Francisco is one of the largest metro areas in the country (and one of the most densely populated). The weather is mild and the cost of living very high. Maine will certainly provide a different environment for you. I have found the people here (I'm from Massachusetts, not Maine originally) to be VERY friendly and helpful. As with anywhere, there are those who are a bit closed off, but I've found them to be in the vast minority. There's a great sense of local pride here which you may enjoy.

Now, on to USM. I just (very) recently graduated USM (Business Management with a concentration in International Business). I'll be moving back down to Boston in the fall to get my Master's in City Planning from Boston University. In my opinion, you cannot compare USM to UC Berkeley... they're just not in the same league overall. UC Berkely is far and away one of the greatest public universities in the nation and USM is probably the third best state college in Maine, if that (UMO and UMF being the better two).

I won't say USM is a BAD school, because it's not; but it's not a great one and I have a hard time even calling it a good school. It's O.K. As with any college, some programs are more reputable than others (USM Accounting program is actually highly regarded, for example) so the actual quality of your degree from USM will depend on your individual program.

USM is a school that is in financial turmoil. While in the current economic climate has had negative implications for many institutions across the nation, USM was in dire straights before the recession hit and is no better off now. The school was close to $10 Million in debt before the recession and I've been informed that that figure is higher now. Major cuts have been made and more are coming. Furthermore, there is relatively high turnover in staff. There is a new president (this year) and many professors are younger and end up not getting tenured. I transferred to USM from another state school (University of Maine at Farmington) and was shocked at the number of YOUNG (these were not retirees) professors that were there one semester and gone the next; only to be replaced by someone even more inexperienced.

Like I said, much of it depends on the program one takes and lots depends on the individual. If you work hard and are successful in school, that can make all the difference in the world. However, when applying for graduate programs, I felt my degree from USM put me at a slight disadvantage. I was a good student and a successful one; but even with good grades and references, I wasn't accepted into some of the better urban/city planning programs I applied to. Boston University's program is quite good and I'm happy with that, but having a degree from a more reputable institution may have put me over the top at some of the other schools I applied to. Of course, I'm speculating with that and I can't PROVE that a degree from somewhere else would have helped more; but a few contacts I've made through school and work have mentioned to me one a few occasions that a degree from USM doesn't hold as much weight with them (whin hiring) as many other state schools from the [New England] region (one citing specifically, UNH, UVM, UMass, UMass Dartmouth, UMO, and a few other state schools).

Another part of the problem, in my opinion, is the lack of selectivity. USM is NOT a selective school and it seems to be a lot of peoples' fall-back option. A friend I made while attending USM told me about how he transferred to USM from Framingham State College in Massachusetts while under academic suspension at the other school (his GPA was below a 1.6). He's far from the only person I've met who's been accepted to USM under similar circumstances.

USM DOES have the benefit of being convenient for commuters. You'll likely take your classes on the Portland Campus which is just off of the highway (I-295) and very easy to access. Your commute will be very quick (15-20 minutes likely) from South Freeport and traffic isn't really much of a problem here (or anywhere in Portland for that matter). It's also affordable. Tution is very inexpensive for Maine residents (under $4,000 as of this spring semester for 15 credits).

So in the end, I have a hard time recommending USM. I don't have many regrets in life so far, but if I could go back and change my transfer situation, I would have transferred to another school or stayed at UMF (UMF is a GREAT college, it was the location- too isolated- that did me in). You can make the most out of a degree there, but I would NOT put it in the same category as the better public colleges in the country or even the state (UMaine Orono is, in my opinion, one of the better state schools in the country).

The best thing to do is check it out when you get here. I would suggest commuting a bit further to take classes at either Bowdoin College, Bates, or University of New England if at all possible even though the commute will be a bit more difficult.
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